New Delhi: Dodging a feeble Kings XI Punjab team in a virtual quarter-final, Rising Pune Supergiant not only blazed into the play-offs round, but assured themselves of a second place in the league table. Implying, the Pune-based franchise will face their state cousins Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1 at Wankhede, tonight.
Having defeated Mumbai twice, both at home and away, Pune will largely go as favourites. But the absence of Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir puts them a notch lower. Both have indeed been phenomenal in assisting Pune's race to the play-offs. Thus, much will have to be borne by Steve Smith and his remainers, as they travel to Wankhede. Jaydev Unadkat and Rahul Tripathi are the two players whose performance have been spectacular througout the season, and so Smith will immensely rely on the duo.
Well, for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who will now have a big responsibility with the bat to put up a big total, seemed to have a quite a busy Monday at the practice nets. Putting a dismal season behind him, the wicket-keeper batsman will be hoping to fight tooth and nail to lead Pune into their first ever final. And some of it is evident from a video uploaded by Rising Pune Supergiant, on their official Instagram page, as they wrote, "DHONI DHONI DHONI! Match or no match, @mahi7781 hits them out of the park equally hard! "
The video showed Dhoni practicing some of his finishing moves at the nets on Monday to gear himself up for the crucial encounter.